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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 09/13/2011

PayPal co-founder: Innovation ‘between dire straits and dead’


PayPal co-founders Max Levchin, left, and Peter Thiel, center, talk to TechCrunch co-editor Erick Schonfeld speak onstage at Day 1 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2011. (Araya Diaz - GETTY IMAGES FOR TECHCRUNCH)

This year’s TechCrunch Disrupt Conference in San Francisco is in full swing, and PayPal co-founder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel had a few sharp words for Silicon Valley.

According to Thiel, the valley is failing to step up to the plate when it comes to solving the nation’s and world’s major problems, including transportation and, by extension, energy.

Thiel joined Max Levchin, fellow PayPal co-founder, founder of Web application developer Slide and chairman of local review Web site Yelp. The two are working on a book titled, “The Blueprint: Reviving Innovation, Rediscovering Risk, and Rescuing the Free Market.”

“What’s desperately needed in our society,” Thiel said, “is companies that represent genuine progress, not just frantic change from one fashion to another.” Both company founders maintained that real, deep innovation was not occurring.

Thiel argued that innovation in the world had stagnated, citing transportation innovation as an example. “Cleantech is an increasingly large disaster that people in Silicon Valley aren’t even talking about any more,” Thiel said, according to GreenBeat’s Matthew Lynley. “The failure in energy and transportation points to a larger failure in clean energy — we aren’t moving any faster, literally, than we were when modern airplanes first came out.”

According to Levchin, innovation globally is “between dire straits and dead.”

Tough words, but are Thiel and Levchin. But what do you think?

— Have we collectively stalled when it comes to innovation?

(Tech Crunch, Green Beat)

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By  |  06:00 AM ET, 09/13/2011

Categories:  Business, Entrepreneurship, Morning Read, Technology

 
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